Join the dream of a non-formal education center in a small fishermen village of the Andaman coast-South Thailand. From the teaching at local schools, English adults lessons in the evening at community learning center (SaLa) joining activities every Sunday in the mangrove, you will share the daily life of the villagers, absorbing their wisdom and spread it in your own way with fresh energy to the local kids. Realize also their difficulties and bring your rock for a better future at Kok Payom.
Kok Payom is a small muslim-majority village in Langú district, Satun, in the South of Thailand, with approx. 600 inhabitants. People in the village mainly rely on fishing and agriculture – rice, rubber, palm, fruits, vegetables, spices – as for their daily living and main source of income. There is 1 mosque, a religious school (Tadika) 1 public primary school (kindergarden and grades 1-6), a few small shops and community spaces in the village. 1 NGO established by local people are active in the Village with the main focus on mangrove and environmental conservation and the other.
Kok Payom, is located 10 kilometers away from the town of Langu in Satun Province. The village is only few km from the sea and linked to it through a large river/canal: the water is salty and there is a strong tide. Most families own a boat and go fishing everyday at the river or at the sea. There are also rubber plantations and rice fields. It is a very peaceful location surrounded by an area of mangrove forest. This village is about 100 years old.
Until late 1980’s, villagers were working for a company (government concessions) to make coal from the rich wood of the mangrove forest. They cut almost all of it.Then there was the law to definitively stop these concessions and to forbid cutting the rich wood all over Thailand. [This was the start of national parks. But 80 % of the tropical forests of Thailand were already down to exportation…and locals were forbid to cut trees for their own need, even, in many cases people living in the limits of the new called national parks have been forced to leave their houses]. When Kok Payom people realized the fishes and crabs were disappearing from the canal, some villagers made the link and decided to replant and take care of the mangrove. And indeed, most of the life of the canal and the whole ocean is starting in between the roots of the mangrove (and the corals too).Nowadays, many areas have been replanted around the village, and even if the mangrove has only 2 or 3 trees species and most trees are of the same height, the life is growing under, in between the roots that can deal with the tides and salty water. The villagers want to continue to take care of the mangrove and we would like to support them with hand, head and heart power.
Villagers want also to take care of the social life of the community. The social values of respecting and supporting each other in their traditional way of life are difficult to maintain nowadays. Like everywhere in the world, villagers face more and more challenges. The community has recognized some of these problems and is working hard to find solutions to the environmental and social issues. They greatly welcome visitors, activists and volunteers who can contribute to these efforts.
Since 2009, DaLaa volunteers have been working with the villagers and children especially at the local schools. There have been a big improvement and continuation of useful activities and constructions. Community members are more aware of environmental issues and how to preserve the local beliefs and life style. In 2010, the villagers, creates “Klong Toh Lem school”, an alternative school on the other side of the canal, in the middle of mangrove forest where children were learning about environment, local values, wisdom, and language in a very natural method of learning every Sunday. Since the Covid period, the activities were totally stopped and the nature took over the School, and now the local people want to start the Klong the Lem aschool again together with the volunteers.
AIMS of the PROJECT.
- To preserve the mangrove forest and the environment
- To support and be part of Kok Payom learning community (to preserve their community values and life style)
- To build a good relationship between volunteers and local people
- To learn about local cultures and wisdom
WORK AND ACTIVITIES
Volunteers can possibly do the activities as follows:
- Create non-formal English classes at local schools
- Create a place where local people and children can learn and become more aware of the importance of our environment (Alternative School –Klong Toh Lem)
- To support some work for community base project (Masjid and Islamic learning centre)
- Organize nature trips with children (awareness of the importance of nature)
- Plant young seedlings in the mangrove forests (occasionally)
- Organize fun and enjoyable activities to the village children at the village meeting place
- Experience Thai Muslim culture, language and local lifestyle with the villagers and support in any useful activities.
The volunteers should be ready to stay in a remote area, to adapt to the local conditions with only basic facilities and with few people able to speak in English. Volunteers should be able to handle spontaneous working environment and constant changes in the plans. The mentality and way of thinking is very different from the western world. There will have often activities with the children. To have responsibility for yourself, the kids and full involvement in community matters is a must.
Villagers of Kok Payom are Muslim so there is no pork or alcohol in the village. Women should dress modestly although you will discover when you live there that the villagers are very relaxed.
FOOD and ACCOMODATION
– We will cook meals together with the host family, there is a lot of sea food, rice, vegetables. Because the family is Muslim, there will be no pork nor alcohol.
– Volunteers will stay at the host house. The mosquito nets, pillows, blankets and mattresses are provided. The conditions are simple.